Review: The House of Special Purpose by John Boyne

Description (from cover):

‘Part love story, part historical epic, part tragedy, The House of Special Purpose illuminates the final days of tsarist Russia. Eighty-two-year-old Georgy Jachmenev is haunted by his past–a past of death, suffering, and scandal that will stay with him until the end of his days. Living in England with his beloved wife, Zoya, Georgy prepares to make one final journey to the Russia he once knew and loved, the Russia that both destroyed and defined him. As Georgy remembers days gone by, we are transported to St. Petersburg in the early twentieth century, to the Winter Palace of the tsar, threatened by bloody revolution.
An unlikely hero, Georgy grew up the son of a peasant farmer, but an act of self-sacrifice brings him into the inner circle of the Romanovs, where he is granted the position of bodyguard to Tsarevich Alexei, son of Tsar Nicholas II and brother to Grand Duchess Anastasia. Georgy’s memories reveal shocking secrets, stripping away decades of deceit until we learn the story of the house of special purpose.’

My thoughts:

I love Russian history, however this one was more love story than historical fiction. There were a lot of parts that skimmed over historical fact and some of the historical fact seemed to be inconsistent with real history. It also went back and forth from the past to the future and it was odd and didn’t flow well. The characters were likeable, but there was supposed to be a twist at the end, but I had the twist figured out about 100 pages in. It was so obvious, it was like a flashlight in the dark. Totally disappointing. I’ve heard good things about this author, especially for The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, so for this one to be so mediocre it was kind of sad.
This is the story of Georgy and Zoya Jachmenev. They meet while they are young in rebellious Russia and the meeting changes the course of their lives. They fall in love and Zoya and Georgy must give up everything in order for their love to survive. It was a touching story in a sense, as you want to learn about these characters and where they came from and how Russia really was back then. However, the historical detail felt wrong, the story line jumps all over the place and the obvious smacks you right in the face early on.
A good read if you’re looking for something predictable, a little far-fetched and romantic. Not something that I overly enjoyed, but it might appeal to other readers. Nothing about this book screams out at me to grab my attention and I really couldn’t wait for it to be over. A blah kind of read that did absolutely nothing for me. If this book intrigues you please get it from the library and don’t waste any hard earned money on this literary disaster.

Overall Rating: 1

Title:  The House of Special Purpose
Author:  John Boyne
Series:  N/A
Publisher:  Other Press
Publication Date:  April 2, 2013
Pages:  480
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was selected from the library by myself and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

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